Increasing system requirements for Windows Editor in 2023.1 and dropping support for Windows 7

Increasing system requirements for Windows Editor in 2023.1 and dropping support for Windows 7

Hello Unity developers! My name is Thom and I’m a senior technical product manager at Unity. I take care of our Windows platform support.

With Unity 2023.1, we are adjusting our minimum system requirements for our Windows Editor.

What does this mean for me?

We are increasing the minimum supported Windows version to Windows 10 Version 1909 (build 18363). As a result, this version of Unity will no longer work on computers which use Windows 7 and older Windows 10 releases. This adjustment has been long coming as it is the first minimum system requirements increase since Unity 5.3 when we dropped support for Windows XP 7 years ago.

Why is Unity making this change?

You may be wondering, why are we doing this now? The short answer: the number of developers using Windows 7 is extremely low, the cost of maintaining the platform is relatively high, and we want to make sure we’re focusing our efforts to deliver the biggest impact for our users.

Windows 7 hasn’t received security fixes from Microsoft since 2020. The number of developers using the Unity Editor on Windows 7 has been rapidly declining over the last few years and now consists of less than 1% of all users using Unity (and continues to fall every month). Windows 10 has evolved over the years and given its upgrade policy, our hardware stats show that very few developers are using older Windows 10 versions than Version 1909.

Continuing to support Windows 7 also limits our ability to improve certain features. For example, it prevents us from upgrading to newer versions of NodeJS (used by package manager) and .NET (used by various editor tools that run out of process). Lastly, the editor currently contains separate code paths specifically to support Windows 7 which are becoming harder and harder to maintain as the Windows 10+ path evolves.

That means that increasing our Windows 10 system requirements to this version will allow us to more easily make use of recent Windows technologies, like the latest recent additions to DirectX 12.

Even testing our products on Windows 7 has become problematic. Newer hardware generally does not have support for drivers for Windows 7 and the last few generations of Intel and AMD CPUs are not supported on Windows 7.

What about the Windows Standalone player?

At this time no changes are being made to the system requirements for the Unity Player on Windows. Unity users will still be able to build games that target Windows 7 in 2023.1.

We are actively monitoring the numbers of players that play games made in Unity on Windows 7 and those numbers have been dropping too. We have not yet made a decision to drop Windows 7 support for the player but we are considering it for Unity 2023 LTS. If Windows 7 support for the Unity player is essential to you, please don’t hesitate to let us know in this forum thread.

What about the Unity users using Windows 7 with prior LTS releases of the Editor?

The last version of Unity that will work on Windows 7 will be Unity 2022 LTS, which will be supported until 2025 for Unity Personal, Unity Plus, and Unity Pro customers and 2026 for Unity Enterprise customers.

All LTS releases supporting Windows 7 will continue to receive fixes for major breaking issues for the duration of their LTS period, however, as usage counts drop further we will de-prioritize less serious bugs that only affect customers using Windows 7. As a result, we recommend developers currently using the Unity Editor on Windows 7 to upgrade to a supported Windows 10 version.

Users on Windows 7 that wish to upgrade to the latest version of Unity (2023.1 and beyond) will need to change their operating system to a supported version. More information about supported versions can be found here:

Manual: System requirements for Unity 2023.1 (alpha)

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You say you are dropping support for windows 7 but the minimum supported version will be windows 10. I assume this means that windows 8 and windows 8.1 will be dropped as well?

Correct, sort of. Unity will not work on Windows 8.1 starting with Unity 2023.1. However:

  1. According to our data, there are almost no people using Windows 8 & 8.1;
  2. Due to point 1, several years ago we stopped testing Windows 8 & 8.1 and dropped it from Windows Editor supported OS list (our system requirements for Unity 2022.2 say: “Windows 7 (SP1+), Windows 10 and Windows 11, 64-bit versions only.”). So technically, it was already not supported but I don’t think we actually had any bugs reported relating to it (and it probably works just fine due to Microsoft’s excellent backwards compatibility).
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[quote]
According to our data, there are almost no people using Windows 8 & 8.1
[/quote]

I'm one of them :p

Time to upgrade it sounds like, especially since Windows 8.1 is going to stop receiving security updates in a couple months :).

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Does that mean I can still continue using 2022 LTS on Windows 7 or do I have to upgrade?

You can use Unity 2022 LTS with Windows 7 if you really want to (although we do advice you to upgrade). We are only dropping support in 2023.x.

I’m glad I heard this. I can’t Upgrade the Windows cause I will lose everything, I thought I’m stuck with Unity 2020 forever LoL

Player support for Windows 7 is still critical to us.
We have a large installed base of industrial devices based on Windows 7 Embedded, which is still supported by Microsoft.

However, these are all now using DirectX 11.0/Shader Level 50, so prior versions of DirectX are no longer required.

We have no need for Editor support on Win7.

"Considering the system requirements change for Unity 2023.1 and the dropping of support for Windows 7, I would like to know if my Windows PC meets the new requirements to play Unity games. My current operating system is Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 v6.1.7601. Can you confirm if my system will be compatible with Unity 2023.1 and beyond for playing games? If not, what are the recommended system specifications I should consider upgrading to?"

We have since also announced that we’re dropping Windows 7 support for the player in Unity 2023.2 here: https://discussions.unity.com/t/919341 . The market share numbers continue to drop and we’ve barely had anyone saying it was important for them to be available in new Unity releases.

As far as I can tell, Windows 7 Embedded support expires in 4 months. What Unity version you are in? Unity 2022.3 LTS will continue to be supported until 2026 for enterprise & industrial customers, are you able to stick with that and not upgrade to 2023.2+ once that comes out if Windows 7 support is important to you?

Games made with Unity 2022.3 and 2023.1 will continue to work on Windows 7, but games made with Unity 2023.2+ will not. We recommend upgrading to Windows 10. It should be fairly straightforward upgrade: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/139745-upgrade-windows-10-windows-7-free.html

You can upgrade Windows 7 to 10 without erasing files on the drive. It just replaces the system files. That said you should absolutely look into having some form of backup even if it’s just an external drive because hardware failure will eventually happen.

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Hey Thom, thanks for the heads up! It's good to see Unity staying up-to-date with system requirements, even though it means saying goodbye to Windows 7. Change can be a bit daunting, but it's important for progress. Reminds me of when I upgraded my OS a while back. It felt like a big step, but in the end, it made my system run smoother and more efficiently. By the way, if you're considering upgrading, Windows 11 Pro might be worth a look. I made the switch from https://digitalchillmart.com/product/windows-11-pro-32-64-bit/ and haven't looked back since!

Hi i'm in the same boat as the user above, we use windows 7 embedded in our current casino machines, and have the official casino license from unity. We are currently upgrading our games versions from 2020 to 2022.3, however we would like to use 2023.2 for the newer adaptive proxy volume features, as well as Unity 6 for the faster rendering engine. We currently use i7 6700 intel, and 1650 gtx nvidia. However, we will be replacing the 1650's with 3050 rtx 6gb (75watt editions, due to 1650 end of production) using the 1 official windows 7 driver for the 3050 and we would like to take advantage of the extra performance we could get out of having less reliance on cpu, and more reliance on gpu from newer unity versions. is it possible to get a version of 2023.2 or unity 6 with windows 7 standalone build support?

Unfortunately not, we removed the code that allowed us to run on Windows 7. Is upgrading to Windows 10 not an option for you?

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we're looking into it, we are sourcing other mobo manufacturers, and considering contacting our current mobo manufacturer on updating our locked bios setup to work on a newer board.

We are very light on the cpu side so it didnt matter in the past, we just want to upgrade unity to focus all of our efforts on getting to 90%+ gpu utilization with low frame times and combining every trick in the mobile play book so we can target 60fps with some higher end graphics on machines that have to last 5+ years with 24/7 up times.